The Aircraft Factory
It was not until late 1946 that the public company 'Park Royal Vehicles Ltd' was formed. Since 1930, and therefore throughout the war years, the company was a private concern known as 'Park Royal Coachworks Ltd' (PRC). During the second world war PRC concentrated on military vehicles, an example of which can be found on the Deacon page. However, very significantly, a large aircraft factory was also built at Park Royal specifically to manufacture the outer wings & engine cowlings for the Halifax Bomber. Thus PRC became part of the wartime London Aircraft Production Group (LAPG) that was a group of firms lead by Handley Page specifically to build the Halifax Bomber.
picture by artist Frank
Wootton OBE PPGAvA (30 July 1911-21 April 1998) of a Halifax Bomber signed by various senior members of the PRC Aircraft
Factory: messrs; Harry F. Endersby (Personnel Manager), Victor A. Bell, W. J. (Bill) Davis,
J. E. Pearson (Head of Inspection) & R. G. Stanford.
Around 1944 at least a thousand prints of this painting were sold to staff throughout the Handley Page Company for a relatively modest sum. Does anyone know where the original might be located? (Ed.)
LAPG-built Halifax B.11 Series 1A at Leavesden aerodrome. It has the smooth contoured all-perspex nose but has the triangular fins that were replaced with square fins in later aircraft of this Series. Below the fuselage is the radome for the H2S radar scanner in its early transparent form. This aircraft is also fitted with flame dampers over the engine exhausts.
From "Handley Page - A History" by Alan Dowsett published by Tempus Publishing in March 2003 - ISBN 0752427822 - Click to search Google for details of this book
The Handley Page company was at the helm of the design and manufacture of the Halifax bomber and David Lang, who was apprenticed there, has written an interesting article on its production and has kindly allowed me to include it on this website. Here then is the story of another lesser known aspect of Park Royal.
Click here for David's article entitled "Halifax Bomber Production at Park Royal Coachworks"
John English has kindly sent in this image taken at Leavesden aerodrome in April
1945 upon the ceremonial naming of the last of the 710 Halifax bombers
manufactured by the LAP Group. It shows the seven LAPG committee members
headed by Lord Ashfield (centre who has signed the frame), and the others
standing in front of a MkIII Halifax. The
problem in this interesting image is matching up who's who! Can you help?
(I have added my views on who's who but am I correct? Can anyone match the names to the committee members in the image? Please let me know! Ed.).
LAPG Committee Members
|Image Location L to R|
|Lord Ashfield||LAPG committee Chairman||
|W. R. Black||Managing Director (MD), Park Royal Coachworks||2|
|G. F. Watts||Managing Director (MD), Duple Bodies & Motors|
|J. B. Osler||Managing Director (MD), Express Motor & Body Works|
|B. King||Chairman & Managing Director (MD), Chrysler Motors|
|E. C. Ottaway||Joint General Manager (Aircraft), London Transport||3|
|L. C. Hawkins||Joint General Manager (Aircraft), London Transport||7|
Adrian Fuller has kindly supplied these two photos of what is believed to be the luncheon held at the Dorchester Hotel in London on 20 March 1945, as mentioned in the article above, that marked the end of wartime production of the Halifax. His grandfather Cyril Fuller is pictured in the front centre of the group photo (with his chair turned towards us) and far right on the casual picture (below).
Adrian writes: I do not know much of what he did during the war but it is believed that my grandfather, Cyril Fuller, took the photographs of the wing production of the Halifax shown in the article (my grandmother Phyllis is the lady facing the camera on the wing photo). I believe that, at some stage, he was a foreman at Park Royal; they lived at Northolt.
Cyril was apprenticed at the GWR in Norfolk, where he learned woodworking. He then went on to Shorts of Belfast working on timber framed aircraft and apparently spent time in Poland before the war. A long time friend of his was RAF Wing Commander, Stanley Timmis. He was also associated with Harry Endersby, Sir William Black and a 'Curly Guyert'.
James Pearson was head of Inspection at the Aircraft Factory, writes his son James (Jnr.). From his childhood visits to the factory, James (Jnr.) recalls the special trailers used for transporting the outer wings to the other Handley Page factories. They were nicknamed Queen Mary's due to their size; and our biggest liner, at the time, was the Queen Mary.
Do you recognise anyone in these photos? Please let me know! (Ed.)
This is the Aircraft Factory's Inspection Department staff - November 1944 (from my father Alf Hill's collection). Did you know any of these people? Can you shed more light on the Aircraft Factory?
The PRC Aircraft Factory viewed from the north across the Grand Union Canal. For more image of the aircraft factory (see also P.R.C Wartime).
This is the famous Park Royal thingamajig. Pictured here at Park Royal during WW2, this specially designed huge construction, mounted on rollers, was used for the movement of some very large things from one place to another. The very large things mounted on this very large thingamajig might have been been very, very large indeed; they might have extended a very long way beyond each end of the thingamajig. But your guess is as good as mine. And my guess is Halifax bomber wings; maybe!